Hong Kong's Top 10... TV Soaps


1. The Bund 上海灘 (1980-1981)
Set in 1920s Republican-era Shanghai, The Bund begins with Hui Man-keung (Chow Yun-fat) and Ting Lik (Ray Lui) struggling to earn a living in the Triad business, and all the shady dealings, violent confrontations, a tragic love triangle, murders and revenge that ensue. Like a HK version of The Godfather, The Bund is classic HK TVB drama at its finest, spawning remakes, spinoffs, movies and Chow Yun-fat’s acting career. 

2. Police Cadet 新紮師兄 (1984, 1985, 1988)
With an all-star cast headed by Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung and Carina Lau, Police Cadet centres on a group of young police cadets as they grow and develop throughout their training. Of course, they also experience a plethora of tragedy, romance, jealousy, and in later seasons, workplace struggles and evil criminals. With help from the Royal Police Academy in Hong Kong, the series marked the debut of actor Tony Leung. 

3. War and Beauty 金枝慾孽 (2004)
This period TV drama took home the TVB Anniversary Award in 2004 and aired regularly on TVB Jade. Taking the theme of women’s struggle in a male-dominated society to a whole new level, War and Beauty delves back to the Forbidden City during the Qing Dynasty Era and focuses on the manipulative and deceitful relationships between royal concubines and their scathing battles for power.

4. Detective Investigation Files 刑事偵緝檔案 (1995-1999)
This crime investigation TV drama series ran for four seasons from 1995 to 1999, with each season focused around a small number of cases. Crime-solving whodunnit missions fuel the plot of each episode but there’s plenty of love triangles, interwoven relations and family issues (of course) along the way. Featuring a large cast ensemble, Michael Tao, Joey Leung, Kenix Kwok and Louisa So reappeared as the original cast members for the first three installments of the Hong Kong TV drama.

5. Looking Back in Anger 義不容情 (1989-2009)
With its not so subtle Chinese title meaning ‘righteousness doesn’t permit feelings’, this TV drama was always going to be lovelorn, complicated and heart-wrenching. With an A-list cast consisting of Felix Wong, Deric Wan, Carina Lau, Kathy Chow Hoi-mei and Maggie Cheung and a masterful storyline, this show won several awards and gained a massive following.

6. A Kindred Spirit 真情 (1995))
This TVB drama series was classic Hong Kong soap melodrama, done right. A story about a family operating a barbecue pork restaurant and a beautiful portrayal of family kinship despite all obstacles, the show garnered heavy emotional investment from loyal views and, with 1,128 episodes, became one of the longest running TV series in HK. 

7. Triumph in the Skies 衝上雲霄 (2003, 2013)
Set at the old airport at Kai Tak, this drama follows an airline crew with newcomer Bosco Wang. Drama ensues when best friend pilots Samuel Tong (Francis Ng) and Vincent Ling (Joe Tam) fall in love with stewardess Belle (Flora Chan), who coincidentally is incompetent at making her own decisions. 

8. Healing Hands 妙手仁心 (1998, 2005)
TVB’s first medical drama may have at first seemed to slightly emulate hit show ER from the US, but Healing Hands’ quality cast (Lawrence Ng, Bowie Lam, Ada Choi and Flora Chan) and heavy storyline moved the show in a direction of its own and into new territory, ultimately sparking controversy after introducing issues such as AIDS and homosexuality. 

9. File of Justice 壹號皇庭 (1992-1997)
Following a handful of young lawyers and their melodramatic personal lives, this addictive TVB serial with slightly comical melodramatic overtones continued to developed over five seasons of quintessential HK drama viewing. 

10. Secret Of The Heart 天地豪情 (1998)
And you thought your family was messed up. Sunny Chan and Nick Cheung play two brothers switched at birth and raised in different economic backgrounds, leading to rivalries between families, love triangles, revenge, general evil and a lot of confused women. Ying Lo

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